New Synth Build Quality

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theotherleadingbrand
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New Synth Build Quality

Post by theotherleadingbrand » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:04 pm

So I'm wondering who's doing it right these days. I'm not a collector or an expert and have sold a lot of my old stuff because I didn't want to risk bringing them to jam sessions anymore. Also, since vintage stuff has kept getting more expensive, I've made my money off the stuff I wasn't attached to while they still functioned. I'm personally likely to look for something along the lines of a more simple, (and portable) performance synth, if anything. My question, though, is what manufacturers are making good quality stuff these days in general, and who is cheaping out on quality more than their price point would suggest?
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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:15 am

everyone is cutting corners on build quality and just beefing up on features in order to stay competitive. most people don't really want to pay extra just for durability anyway. I think the only synth companies who truly still build them like tanks is in the 5u modular world. there you will find the best pots, best knobs, all metal construction - Synthesizers.com, MOTM, STG, Synthtech, and more.

as for as hardwired synths still in production, everything is cheaply made. for starters, real quality means panel mounted pots. one of the biggest fails IMO is mounting them on the board using cheap plastic pots, which almost all of them do. I wish Access, Korg, Clavia, Roland, Novation, DSI would all build their synths like Moogerfoogers, but it simply isn't the industry standard anymore. it's also more challenging to fit them since the more durable knobs for instance are much bigger, so they eat up more space. it's always a trade off though. in eurorack, it's a mix - there are some who build them flimsy and some who build them like tanks (Pittsburgh Modular). but it's all relative, since features and sound are more important.

not counting modular, I think my favorite build is on the Access Virus C/TI and Mopho keyboard. at least the knobs have a somewhat firm feel. I wonder what the Mini Brute is like.

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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by Rick N Boogie » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:32 am

It's a loaded question, since as mentioned above, alot of the cut corners are under the hood. But, I do agree, DSI builds synths in metal casing, rather than plastic, as found on Korg, Roland, Etc. Access Virus synths are built well, but expensive, and even Moog's Little synth, though metal, has a cheap keybed. It's all a matter of what's most important to you as a buyer. I won't buy ANY synth with a plastic shell, no matter how good it may sound.
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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by GuyaGuy » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:14 am

bouzoukijoe1 wrote:everyone is cutting corners on build quality and just beefing up on features in order to stay competitive.
Yup. And that's nothing new really. Juno 106 has 1 osc + sub osc to cut costs, DX7 has no knobs to cut costs, etc.

As far as Korg, Roland and Yamaha units today, they all make such a wide variety of instruments in all sorts of price classes to have a market share in all spaces--beginner to pro. So it's difficult to generalize about the Big Boys.

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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:24 am

Rick N Boogie wrote:I won't buy ANY synth with a plastic shell, no matter how good it may sound.
What are you doing to your synths that warrants the strength of a metal case?

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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by cgren72 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:15 pm

I dont know about rick, but i like to play synths while i am driving and if i wreck my car i want my synth to be safe.

lol

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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by Rick N Boogie » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:28 am

You know, nothing that would warrant the amount of paranoia I feel. I just like the solid feel of steel, and it's more a "piece of mind" thing, however misguided that may be.
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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by cgren72 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:59 am

lol i do know what you mean though, rick. I was just joking. (although i have played synth in my car, foolishly)

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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:51 am

There sure are a lot of SH-101s still going strong out there 25+ years on.

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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by themilford » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:26 am

Touring is a real b***h on plasticky gear. I can vouch.

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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by Synthead » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:39 am

In short: they don't make them like they used to. Like aforementioned, they're loaded in features to compete with DAWs, but there are too many people unwilling to drop money on hardware these days = poor quality to save manufacturing costs.

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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by cgren72 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:19 pm

Synthead wrote: there are too many people unwilling to drop money on hardware these days = poor quality to save manufacturing costs.
I am pretty sure microkorgs are hardware.

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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by nuketifromorbit » Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:41 am

bouzoukijoe1 wrote: it's always a trade off though. in eurorack, it's a mix - there are some who build them flimsy and some who build them like tanks (Pittsburgh Modular). but it's all relative, since features and sound are more important.
I can attest that cheaper manufacturers like doepfer and analog solutions bolt their potentiometers to the face plate, yet more expensive manufactures such as malekko and make noise do not. I'm not trying to s**t on the later, but I'm extremely satisfied with my dark energy. It seriously is one of the most solid feeling synths I've ever used.
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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by Don T » Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:29 am

nuketifromorbit wrote:
bouzoukijoe1 wrote: it's always a trade off though. in eurorack, it's a mix - there are some who build them flimsy and some who build them like tanks (Pittsburgh Modular). but it's all relative, since features and sound are more important.
I can attest that cheaper manufacturers like doepfer and analog solutions bolt their potentiometers to the face plate, yet more expensive manufactures such as malekko and make noise do not. I'm not trying to s**t on the later, but I'm extremely satisfied with my dark energy. It seriously is one of the most solid feeling synths I've ever used.
From my point-of-view (especially as a repair tech), having the pots bolted to the faceplate is a better solution than relying on the solder joints that hold the pot to the circuit board. The stress of operation/bumps/accidents is absorbed by the faceplate instead of the circuit board or the pot's internals.
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Re: New Synth Build Quality

Post by Hybrid88 » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:13 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:There sure are a lot of SH-101s still going strong out there 25+ years on.
That's because it has a metal bottom panel and rigid thick plastic square design, try comparing the flex between a 101 and a 201 ;)
Synthead wrote:In short: they don't make them like they used to...
To be fair it's not so much to do with age, cost cutting is nothing new, the Poly800 for example is as cheap and plasticky as they come.

+1 on Access, their stuff is always solid.

-1 to Novation, I've not been impressed.

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